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11 posts from November 2008

What's This Blog Doing on the Kindle?

Pub2020kindleA reader of my Publishing 2020 blog recently e-mailed me this link to a new product for the Kindle.  This new product is my blog's feed, which Amazon is now selling for 99 cents per month.

I was never asked to participate in the program, so I'm assuming it's the result of a blogging syndication deal I signed a couple of years ago.  Thanks to the world of syndication you never know where your content might appear, and you really don't have much say in the matter.  I'm not complaining, and I certainly don't anticipate many (any?!) subscriptions to materialize via this service; even if they do, I'm getting a slice of a slice of a pretty tiny (99-cent) slice, so it's not changing my world.

The bigger question I have is "why?".  Why is Amazon bothering with adding these blog feeds?  The rankings I'm seeing for most of them is pretty low.  More importantly, I've found that once Kindle owners discover free blog feed services like Kindlefeeder, they feel the paid feeds are a ripoff.

I think Amazon would be better off redirecting their efforts to increase the number of available paid blog feeds.  For example, they still only have 18 magazines for sale on the Kindle and loads of technology and business titles are noticeably absent from the list.  Every minute spent adding another blog to the service is time that should have been spent building up the magazine base, IMHO.

Web 2.0 Summit Videos on YouTube

Web2.0 I flew to San Francisco last week to attend the Web 2.0 Summit but now you can watch many of the sessions from the comfort of your home/office via YouTube.  OK, you probably don't have the time to watch all the videos, so here's a quick list of some of my favorite sessions:

Elon Musk

Lawrence Lessig

John Doerr

Mark Zuckerberg

P.S. -- Here's to hoping that more conference providers will post session videos like this.  It's a great way to extend the conference's community reach.

The Apple Convert

Apple logo I never thought I'd say this, but I just bought an iPhone 3G.  This is my first Apple purchase since I bought an original Macintosh way back in 1984.  I can't wait to see what great stuff Steve Jobs & Co. have to offer when I'm ready for my next Apple buy in 2032.

A few weeks ago I bought a Blackberry Curve for my new job at O'Reilly.  I seemed to be the only Blackberry user there and I quickly developed iPhone envy.  That's when you see too many of your colleagues doing really cool iPhone things, the kind of stuff you simply can't do on a Blackberry.

Another factor also came into play last week.  While attending the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco I got to hear famed venture capitalist John Doerr talk about his passion for the iPhone.  At one point, he held his iPhone up and said he believes this platform will ultimately become more important and influential than the PC platform.

Read that last sentence again and let it sink in.  Doerr wasn't saying the PC platform is dying out and the iPhone will one day be more important than it.  He's saying that as revolutionary as the original PC marketplace was (and has been), the iPhone platform is poised to have even more of an impact.

The impact Doerr is referring to isn't just limited to the device being a good phone, of course.  It's about how the iPhone is (and will become even more of) a multifunction device, including serving as an enabler to all forms of content.

Do I want to read an entire book on this tiny screen?  Probably not, but I can honestly say I would have been less inclined to buy a Kindle if I already had an iPhone.  (Sorry Amazon.)

Stay tuned for more iPhone reports in future posts.  And my thanks to the local AT&T reps who pointed out that, within 30 days of my original purchase, if I was willing to pay a $20 restocking fee I could swap out my Blackberry.  Imagine how thrilled I was to find out I was on day 27 of the initial 30.  That may turn out to be the best $20 I've ever spent!

P.S. -- As I've said about the Kindle, if you're in the publishing business you owe it to yourself to personally experience new technologies like the iPhone.  You can't really gauge its impact if you're not using one yourself.  I think Doerr is right.  The iPhone will continue to be a disruptive factor for a lot of industries, including publishing.

Launching Projects on a Shoestring Budget

Pennies I'm attending the Web 2.0 Summit this week and one of the most inspiring sessions was earlier today when Guy Kawasaki rounded up a bunch of web startups who launched with very limited funding. We're talking $15K-$20K to start a business.

I keep thinking about some of the new models of content distribution we should be experimenting with and I often get discouraged when I think about the potential investment requirements.  The companies Kawasaki gathered prove you can do a lot with very little.  Highly thought-provoking.  (See my earlier tweets for a full list of the companies included in this session.)

The Gaming of Incentive Plans

Money Despite the fact that I now subscribe to fewer print magazines than ever I somehow recently managed to fall behind a bit in my reading. Over the weekend I came across another excellent article by Joel Spolsky in the October issue of Inc magazine.  It's all about incentive plans and how they're all too frequently manipulated "because the geniuses who design them don't anticipate how employees will respond."

Here's my favorite quote from the article:

Inevitably, people will figure out how to get the number you want at the expense of what you are not measuring, including things you can't measure, such as morale and customer goodwill.

Truer words have never been spoken.  It's an important message to consider, particularly if you're charged with developing and managing incentive plans.

On a completely unrelated topic, my blogging activity will probably be light this week as I head out to attend the Web 2.0 Summit.  The upside is that I fully expect to do quite a bit of Twittering while I'm there, so stay tuned to my tweets if you're interested in what's going on at this very important event.